One of my favorite things about SciFi is that it allows us to look at human nature and human relationships in fresh new context. We can drop people into very different surroundings from our own and explore what ifs without the pesky constraints of the ordinary world.
The most recent episode of Terra Nova focused on a premeditated murder. It served as a way to explore the question of whether humanity is worthy of a second chance. Or perhaps it just served to remind us that the more things change the more they stay the same. Both common themes in SciFi, but either way, it got me started thinking, theorizing, and asking some crazy questions.
What this the first murder?
In this episode they implied this was the first instance of a violent crime. Do you think that’s true? At first the TNs were content to call the death accidental. It took the newly arrived cop to see the crime for what it was. How many crimes had simply gone unrecognized before this? And, of course, they are completely discounting the sixers’ crimes. Do those not count because the two groups are in conflict? Is it only outrageous if the crime happens within the colony?
Can you select out bad behavior?
People have been killing each other from the beginning of our existence. All the technological progress, enlightenment, religion, and civility hasn’t changed our nature enough to eliminate our homicidal tendencies. Why would going back in time, or even getting a fresh start change that? It seems perfectly natural that people traveling through time would take with them all there sins and vices. Perhaps the selective nature of the colony was meant to ensure a better class of folks would start the new society. They didn’t challenge the arrogance of that idea much in this episode. The two suspects each came from outside the pool of “chosen” ones. One had gotten into to Terra Nova via lottery, the other was a soldier. No stretch to think that a soldier would be prone to violence.
Would the environment or circumstance impact behavior? And how?
Terra Nova is an odd mix of primitive setting and technology. A more primitive environment might be expected to increase violence, since survival often requires violence. Perhaps education and technology are expected to elevate the colonists. In Terra Nova, the sixers seem to be living a far more primitive and violent lifestyle. They provide a good contrast for the colony. On the other hand, the sixers must struggle daily for survival. Will that ultimately make them stronger? More united? So far we’ve been led to believe they are being held together using fear-based leadership, which is inherently weak. It would be a lot more interesting if that weren’t the case. Will have to wait and see where that goes.
In conclusion, giving this some thought revealed some weak choices I hadn’t noticed simply by passively watching the show. I’m still enjoying the show, but I do hope they will make some more interesting choices at some point. Might help their ratings.
Anyone else have any theories, questions, thoughts on Terra Nova? Or feel free to take some of these issues out to other fiction. I’ve been gone a while, but now I’m back and hungry for conversation!